The ideal packing list for climbing Snowdon

A backpack always seems to feel heavier with each day of hiking
A backpack always seems to feel heavier with each day of hiking

When we go to Snowdon this is the equipment list that I send to everyone.

The list changes a little depending on whether we’re camping or sleeping indoors, and the time of the year.

A good tip is to pack the rucksack you’ll be walking with while you’re still at home. And then leave it alone when you arrive.

When walking with children, it’s important to take more spare clothes so that they stay dry and not become miserable when damp.

Carrier bags are great for keeping kit dry (Ziplocks are even better, but more expensive), for litter, for storing the dirty clothes, and for covering muddy boots back in the car.

Black bags are great for keeping everything dry, and can turn into a 100% waterproof overcoat if the rain becomes torrential. I always carry a few spare of both. Continue reading The ideal packing list for climbing Snowdon

Our first microadventure

On Tuesday night my Dad asked my sisters and I who wanted to go on a microadventure. We didn’t know what that meant, so only Shelley and I said yes. It sounded interesting.

We looked at different bivvy bags and bought three for me, my sister Shelley and Dad.

On Saturday night we packed our stuff together. All we took was the clothing which we were wearing, a fireproof cup each, a sleeping bag and some matches to get our fire going.

Microadventures use bivvy bags not tents

So last night we slept in a divvy bag without a tent.

We rode our bikes 5 miles from our house to a local camp site. When we arrived at the field we were sleeping in, a scout group was there. They only took up about an eighth of the field, so we had plenty of remaining space.

We picked the place we were sleeping at, then laid out our bedroll, then made a fire. There was a really good wood pile that at the camp site, and we started the fire with just one match.

While our fire was scorching hot we made hot chocolate and ate marshmallows on sticks.

We ended up getting to sleep by 10:15pm and we slept in our full clothing.

Eventually when my Dad woke me up at a cruel 7:30 we didn’t have breakfast, but we rode our bikes back home and straight away had breakfast and a very warm shower.

I didn’t think I was that tired, but ended up falling asleep for three hours this afternoon.

I enjoyed the microadventure because it was a different experience sleeping outside of a tent. I’ve camped in a tent for over 60 nights in total, but sleeping in a bivvy bag was warmer (although my face felt colder), had less space yet was more fun than a tent.

Now I’m looking forward to the next microadventure. Definitely.

Our first microadventure

The plan for this weekend’s #Microadventures

Microadventures by Alastair Humphreys - I can't wait to put this book into action
Microadventures by Alastair Humphreys – I can’t wait to put this book into action

Presumably, if you’re reading this blog, you like outdoor adventure. If you haven’t read Microadventures by Alastair Humphreys, go to the library or just order it from Amazon now.

Microadventures consist of a most-simple overnight stay in a field somewhere. No need for a tent – use a bivvy bag instead. No need for food – get dinner from a pub nearby and breakfast from a café nearby. With no food, it means no camping stove. Microadventures should be basic.

At this point people I’ve spoken to have a Marmite moment. You’re either wondering “COOL!” or “That sounds like a tramp – why would you do this?“. If you fall into the latter group, read another article on this site. I won’t be offended. Continue reading The plan for this weekend’s #Microadventures

The best campsite in the UK – it’s in Snowdon

Tent with a view
A great view to open your tent to in the morning

A few years ago we decided to camp in Snowdon. Up until then we’d always found a B&B nearby.

After a little hunting around, we booked the Snowdon Base Camp, also referred to as the Snowdon Inn or the Cwellyn Arms because the camp site owner also owns the pub of that name (as well as a few properties in the tiny village of Rhyd-Ddu).

It is a magical camp site. Continue reading The best campsite in the UK – it’s in Snowdon

13 Top Tips for Camping in the Rain

One surprise outing during our wettest summer camp was to the local laundrette
One surprise outing during our wettest summer camp was to the local laundrette

This year we had our wettest-ever Scout summer camp. It’s not one of those awards which one looks back on with any smiles or pride, other than the thought that “we made it” through the camp.

Although rain isn’t welcome during any type of camping, it’s inevitable here in the UK. Some of the prettiest places in the UK are in the top 10 wettest places.

So it’s worth being prepared. Here are some top tips about camping in the rain. I’ve split the tips into two sections – kit related, and at-camp related. Continue reading 13 Top Tips for Camping in the Rain

Training for Kilimanjaro (in London)

Kilimanjaro is about five and half months away.

Possibly the hardest hillwalking route you can do in London for Kilimanjaro training
Possibly the hardest hillwalking route you can do in London for Kilimanjaro training

There are about 20 of us signed up for the trip, many of whom don’t look like they’ve walked more than a mile in the last ten years.

And quite a few of them have brand new boots and clothing which is going to be a little sore on the first use.

The summer has been lovely so far, so we decided to go for an evening walk to wear in the boots and ‘practice walking’. It’s all a bit bizarre, so I decided to invite everyone to Highgate – probably London’s hilliest area. I cycle through Highgate every day, so I know the tough hills (although I’ve never walked up them) and some good routes. Continue reading Training for Kilimanjaro (in London)

Steripen water purifier review

Steripen - a great way to make water drinkable within a minute
Steripen – a great way to make water drinkable within a minute

Last week I drank from my bicycle water bottle on the way home from work. I had that immediate feeling of “that doesn’t taste right”, but it was very hot and sunny, and there was still half a mile of a hill to climb.

Half an hour later at the end of the ride I was at home kneeling in front of the toilet, with my body getting rid of the water as quickly as possible. It wasn’t pleasant. Continue reading Steripen water purifier review

South Downs Weekend #2

The weather had been so nice in London recently that I was worried about how Ishai and I would stay hydrated on the South Downs. We’d been sent the Steripen for review, which seemed perfect timing. I resisted the urge to take bigger water bottles, although on reflection we could have done with them.

Saturday was due to be a sunny 23 degrees and Sunday was forecast 19 degrees with light rain. In England, we have to pack suntan lotion and waterproofs. Continue reading South Downs Weekend #2

Leatherman Raptor review

Leatherman Raptor Scissors - be careful when folding them away
Leatherman Raptor Scissors – be careful when folding them away

Along with the Leatherman knife that we were asked to review recently, we received a strange pair of folding scissors from the US company.

I was travelling in the US with work, and called home. Now my wife, who isn’t usually excited about camping gadgets, had opened the Leatherman box, glanced over the knife and opened the scissors package. Continue reading Leatherman Raptor review

South Downs Weekend #1

My dad and I had climbed  mountains before this weekend and we felt that we wanted to do a different challenge so we did some research and spoke to friends and we said that we would walk the whole of the South Downs Way.

We’d been planning this for a while and all we wanted to do was go.

We bought lot of new equipment like a kettle and a gas stove from GoOutdoors and we found that they were much lighter than we thought they would be.

As we were planning the weekend we planned what we were going to eat each day, making sure that we were picking light weight foods.

My Dad carried the tent and I carried the food which meant that my rucksack constantly got lighter throughout the weekend.

We travelled to Winchester by train from Waterloo station after getting a tube from Bank where my Dad works.

When we arrived we had to walk to a caravan site 3 miles away. It was quite basic. There was only 1 other tent with a local artist staying there, which meant that it was a very quiet night and we could have a  choice of where we could pitch our tent.

Some of the caravans looked lovely and the grass was kept in very good condition. Nearly every caravan was fenced off and the camping area was fenced of too. They had clean drinking water, clean toilets and nice showers.

We woke up super early and only saw 2 other people awake at that time.

We saw lots of hills with beacons on (beacons are large torches which people used to set on fire to signal things to other people far away).

We saw some offroad motorcyclists zooming around as we were walking and could not stop hearing their loud engines for a long time. We also saw hang gliders jumping off a hill in Queen Elizabeth Country Park and even saw a charity bike race.

We started to get really tired about a mile from the Sustainability Centre and I could really feel the blisters on my feet. But we carried on waddling and when we arrived there were no staff so we had to go searching.

Eventually we found our pitch which had someone in it with a BBQ cooking their dinner so we had to wait for them to finish. Luckily they went to their teepee quickly and they were kind.

We had a very good nights sleep.

The Sustainability Centre had very strange toilets as they had a straight hole into some hay were your waste got decomposed. The showers were solar heated  which meant that they were hot and were lovely!

When we woke up water had got under our tent’s outer as it rained that night and we’d put the tent up in a hurry. We had to dry it off as we had breakfast. The washing up facilities were good as the sinks were clean.

As we left from  The Sustainability Centre our aim was to get to Petersfield station (which was not far away from the south downs track) so that we could get back home by train and tube, and we made it!

So that was the first 26 miles of the south downs way.

 

 

A father and son's journey of hiking and camping